Update at 11: 57 a.m. ET: NHK World TV reports that all tsunami alerts have been lifted.

[H/T Hotair] posted at 11:24 am on April 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As if Japan hadn’t suffered enough over the last few weeks. Another earthquake hit just off the northeastern coast of Honshu near the Miyagi prefecture, a 7.4 magnitude aftershock to last month’s 9.0 catastrophic quake.. Warnings have been issued for a potential six-foot tsunami in an area already battered by massive tsunamis and flooding, not to mention the nuclear crisis to the south:

Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast. The Japan meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet (two meters). The warning was issued for a coastal area already torn apart by last month’s tsunami, which is believed to have killed some 25,000 people and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.Officials say Thursday’s aftershock was a 7.4-magnitude and hit 25 miles (40 kilometers) under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month’s tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude.

Reports of damage are so far minimal, but all power was lost in Ichinoseki, and it’s not clear whether that was deliberate or the result of damage to power transmission systems. The government has already issued an evacuation order for the northeastern coast. This time, though, the tsunami is not expected to pose a threat to Hawaii or the US west coast region:

U.S. officials say a 7.4-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan is not expected to create a tsunami threat in Hawaii or the West Coast.  Federal agencies say that area includes Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia, Canada.

Initial reports indicated that the government may have evacuated the already-critical Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but a later report backed away from that claim. We’ll keep our eyes on the story as it unfolds, but hopefully the damage will be limited by the earlier destruction.